How To Shorten A Dress From The Middle

The easiest way to update your old dress is to shorten it. However, you cannot always shorten a dress from its end. The good news is that you can shorten your dress from the middle easily.

There are three ways to shorten a dress from the middle: using safety pins and tapes, and through sewing. Each of these three methods come with their own pros and cons. But if you are not good at sewing, you should resort to safety pins and tapes.

Shortening a dress from the middle takes minutes if you know the right techniques for doing it. As such, you do not need to be a pro at sewing to update your old dress to its new version. Here’s outlining three methods for you to do with ease.

How to Shorten Your Dress from the Middle?

how to shorten your dress from the middle

The answer to this question depends on the amount of skills and time that you have. Also, it depends on whether you are looking for a permanent fix or not.

So, if you don’t have enough time and skills, you can try using safety pins or hem tapes on your dress. You might choose to remove the tape later on if you want the dress to go back to its previous length.

On the other hand, if you are particularly skilled with that sewing machine or your hands, go for a more permanent fix and sew the dress from the middle. Though you can open the stitches later if you want, pins and needles leave marks on the dress that stand out.

Three ways to shorten your dress from the middle are:

  • Using safety pins on the dress
  • Using double-sided hem tapes
  • Sew your dress to shorten it.

Procedure for Shortening Your Dress from the Middle

The first thing you need to do is gather all the supplies for shortening your dress. And you will need the following tools based on the method you use:

  • A few safety pins (as per the hemline’s actual width)
  • Double-sided hem tapes
  • A pair of scissors
  • An iron
  • Ironing board
  • Needle and matching thread
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Pins

Method 1: Shortening a Dress from the Middle Using Safety Pins

shortening a dress from the middle using safety pins

Using safety pins is the easiest way to temporarily fix your dress and it is ideal for those difficult situations where you have to shorten the dress fast for an occasion or event that is just around the corner.

Step 1: Mark a Line with a Chalk on the Dress

The safety pins need to go on the dress on a straight line and not in any manner whatsoever. So, your first job is to mark a line on the dress with chalk.

Step 2: Get the Dress Flipped and Start the Work

Now, flip your dress inside out and get safety pins to secure the bottom of the hemline to the waistline. Then, take the other side of the seam and repeat the process. And that’s all!

Using two to four safety pins would be enough for this method. The process saves you loads of time and gives you complete freedom to go out in your new, short dress in no time. If sewing equipment is not near at hand and sewing isn’t your forte, using safety pins is definitely the way to go for you.

Method 2: Using Double-Sided Hem Tapes to Shorten a Dress

using double-sided hem tapes to shorten a dress

Now, let’s look at the second easiest way to temporarily shorten your dress from the middle. In fact, it’s so fast that you can wear your new shorter dress within five minutes.

Before starting with the steps, let’s get you some idea about the kind of tape you will be using. So, look up something called a ‘Temporary Hem Tape.’

What is a Temporary Hem Tape?

A temporary hem tape is especially made to be invisible and create a temporary hem that is as easy to do in the first place as it is to remove. It is a double-sided tape that will work for anything, right from dresses to pants.

In fact, you should carry them with you wherever you go as a quick fix. You do not need the help of a tailor to find your way with a hem tape.

Step 1: Put On the Dress with Your Preferred Shoes

put on the dress with your preferred shoes

You need to start by putting on your dress with the shoes that you plan to wear with it. This will give you an idea about how short you want your dress to be. Also, you might put another dress over this one to measure the ideal length.

Place pins over the point where you want the new hem of your dress to be.

Step 2: Start Putting the Hem Tape on Your Dress

Next, take off your dress and flip it inside out. Then, peel off a side of the hem tape and get it attached to the fabric of your dress. Remove the other side of the tape and complete your work of securing the dress’ new hem in place.

Step 3: Removing the Temporary Hem Tape after Use

If you want to get the dress back to its actual form and hemline, you need to remove the tape as delicately as you can. And that’s all!

Pro tip:

One thing you need to remember with this method is that you should not wash your dress after applying the tape. So, it means you can only use a dress once or twice with the temporary hem tape on it.

Also, if you are buying a hem tape, go for a product that comes with at least eighteen to twenty strips at an affordable price. Anything less than that won’t be able to keep you going for long.

Method 3: Sewing to Shorten a Dress from the Middle

As you have seen in all kinds of clothing adjustment and fixes, you can temporarily shorten your dress by sewing it. This solution depends on the idea of putting in stitches that will stay in place and raise your dress’ hem until you think of removing it later.

Besides, it is a super simple solution and not something that will need you to spend half a day with a needle and thread. As a matter of fact, you can make the process even easier by using a sewing machine for this reason.

Step 1: Start by Taking Some Measurements of the Dress

Like with all methods mentioned above, you need to start by getting an idea about how short you want the dress to be. Firstly, put on your dress with the shoes that you plan to wear with it. It will give you an idea about the new measurement of your dress.

Also, you might put another dress over this one to measure the ideal length. Now, place pins over the point where you want the new hem of your dress to be.

Step 2: Sew a Stitch along the Measurement Line

You need to stitch along the lines where you have put the pins. Also, ensure that the stitches are long and nice. So, it will be easy to remove the stitches when you want the dress to go back to its actual form.

Step 3: Ironing and Smoothening Out Extra Lining

ironing and smoothening out extra lining

Next, flip the lining of the dress from the waist down and over the top of your dress. After this, take the iron and smoothen out all extra fabric or lining to get it sealed to the inside of your dress.

Step 4: Making a Top-Stitch to Conceal the Short-Term Seam

Afterward, take a couple of more pins to create a sturdy top stitch for hiding the excess. Thus, you will hide the new, temporary seam you created. You are now ready to show your new shorter dress to the world.

Sewing is the way to go if you know how to make simple stitches because it will feel more permanent than a hem tape and the finishing will be much better. Furthermore, you can wear this new short dress as many times as you want because you don’t need to take the stitches out to wash your dress. Sewing is the way to go if you are not fixing the dress only for one night.

Can You Use Regular Tape On Your Dress Instead Of Temporary Hem Tape?

In case you do not have temporary hem tape with you and you are thinking of putting some regular double-sided tape on your dress, please stop. Using a regular tape will simply damage the dress and it will be hard to remove the tapes without damaging and leaving marks on the actual fabric.

How to Remove the Stitches You Have Put On the Dress?

You need to use a seam ripper or a small scissor to have the stitches removed when you want the actual length of the dress back. So, the crucial thing to remember here is not to go too hard or fast at the stitches because the use of excess force might rip the dress.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *